How to Retire at Age 60: Four Factors to Consider

How to Retire at Age 60: Four Factors to Consider

Retiring at age 60 is an appealing goal for many, but it requires careful planning and consideration.

To ensure a successful early retirement, you must evaluate four crucial factors: financial preparedness, health care coverage and costs, Social Security benefits, and lifestyle and income needs.

Let’s explore each of these factors in detail.

1. Financial Preparedness

Financial preparedness is the cornerstone of a successful retirement at 60. To ensure you’re on track, start by taking a comprehensive inventory of all your retirement accounts, including 401(k)s, IRAs, pensions, and other investments. This will give you a clear picture of your financial starting point.

Next, calculate your anticipated post-retirement living costs, factoring in essentials like housing, food, and healthcare, as well as discretionary spending for hobbies and travel.

Experts often recommend a 4% annual withdrawal rate when withdrawing from retirement savings. However, this may vary based on your specific circumstances and market conditions.

To protect your financial future, utilize online retirement planning tools, aiming for a success probability of at least 90% to ensure a comfortable retirement. This high success rate provides an extra cushion against market volatility and unexpected expenses, giving you greater peace of mind in your retirement planning.

Remember that the cost of goods and services will likely increase over time, so factor in an annual inflation rate of 2-3% when planning your long-term financial needs. Lastly, make it a habit to review and adjust your retirement plan annually or whenever significant life events occur, as your financial situation and goals may change over time.

2. Health Care Coverage and Costs

Health care is critical when retiring at 60, especially since Medicare eligibility typically begins at 65. You’ll need to plan for alternative health insurance coverage to bridge the gap between retirement at 60 and Medicare eligibility.

Options may include COBRA coverage from your former employer (usually available for up to 18 months), private health insurance, or Health Insurance Marketplace plans.

Be prepared for potentially higher premiums during this period, as private insurance or COBRA can be significantly more expensive than employer-sponsored plans.

If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), continue maximizing contributions while eligible. These funds can be used tax-free for medical expenses in retirement.

Research and estimate your potential healthcare costs in retirement, considering factors like prescription medications, routine check-ups, preventive care, and possible chronic conditions based on family history.

Familiarize yourself with Medicare options and costs, budgeting for Medicare Part B premiums, potential Part D (prescription drug) coverage, and supplemental insurance (Medigap) policies.

Consider whether long-term care insurance is appropriate for your situation, and if so, factor these premiums into your retirement budget. Lastly, invest in preventive care and maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce future healthcare costs potentially.

3. Social Security Benefits

Understanding how Social Security benefits factor into your retirement strategy is crucial when retiring at 60. The earliest age to claim Social Security retirement benefits is 62, meaning you’ll need to bridge a minimum two-year gap before accessing these benefits.

If you claim Social Security at 62, your benefits will be permanently reduced, potentially by as much as 30%, compared to waiting until your full retirement age (FRA), which is 66-67 for most current retirees.

On the other hand, each year you delay claiming Social Security beyond your FRA (up to age 70), your benefit increases by about 8%. Consider whether your financial situation allows you to delay claiming to maximize your benefits.

If you decide to work part-time while receiving Social Security benefits before reaching your FRA, be aware of the earnings test, as your benefits may be temporarily reduced if your earnings exceed certain thresholds.

For married couples, consider how your retirement age affects potential spousal benefits. Coordinating claiming strategies can maximize your household’s total benefits.

Use the Social Security Administration’s online tools to estimate your benefits at different claiming ages. This will help you make an informed decision about when to start taking benefits.

Remember that Social Security benefits include cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), providing some protection against inflation in retirement.

Since you won’t have access to Social Security at 60, ensure you have other income sources to cover expenses until you’re eligible to claim, such as retirement savings, investments, or part-time work.

4. Lifestyle and Income Needs

Understanding and planning for your lifestyle and income needs is crucial when considering retirement at 60. Start by carefully evaluating your current expenses and projecting how they might change in retirement.

Many financial experts suggest budgeting for about 70-80% of your pre-retirement income, which can vary based on your planned lifestyle.

Define your retirement goals and aspirations, considering factors such as travel plans, hobbies and leisure activities, potential relocation, and desired standard of living.

Assess your housing situation and decide whether you’ll stay in your current home, downsize, or relocate. Factor in potential changes in mortgage payments, property taxes, and maintenance costs.

Remember that the cost of goods and services will likely increase over time, so build an inflation adjustment into your income needs calculations, typically 2-3% annually.

As discussed in the healthcare section, factor in potential increases in medical expenses as you age. Consider potential financial responsibilities to family members, such as supporting adult children or aging parents.

Evaluate whether you want to or need to work part-time in retirement, as this can provide additional income and potentially help bridge the gap until Social Security eligibility. Consider a phased approach to retirement, gradually reducing work hours over time to ease the transition and provide continued income.

Categorize your expenses into essential (non-discretionary) and optional (discretionary) to help prioritize spending in retirement. Maintain an emergency fund to cover unexpected costs without disrupting your planned retirement income.

Lastly, plan to regularly reassess your lifestyle and income needs in retirement, as your circumstances and priorities may change over time.


You can create a more accurate and sustainable retirement plan by thoroughly evaluating these four factors – financial preparedness, health care coverage and costs, Social Security benefits, and lifestyle and income needs.

This comprehensive approach will help ensure that retiring at 60 aligns with your financial resources and personal aspirations, leading to a more fulfilling retirement experience.